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Volkswagen T-Roc 2023 review: R-Line 140TSI

The Volkswagen T-Roc is fun, tech-savvy and packed full of features.

You don’t see many unattractive Volkswagens - I think they’re a nice looking bunch, and the refreshed T-Roc is no exception. The new and improved model is a great drive, it's a lot of fun and packed full of features, but it does come with a hefty price tag.

The VW T-Roc 140TSI R-Line is in the middle model in the updated range. The grade has a price point of just over $45,350 (MSRP), but our review version has more than $8000 worth of optional equipment fitted. That pushes the price up to $53,450 before on-road costs, which is towards the expensive end of the small SUV category.

The leather appointed seats are $3950 and the Black Style package is valued at $2900 and adds a bunch of stuff you'll appreciate, like 19-inch black alloy wheels, black interior and exterior styling details, a black roof, as well as adaptive chassis control and a Beats sound system. This car also had the optional electric tailgate, at $600. The silver metallic paint adds $650 to the price, but the only paint option that doesn't add extra to the bill is a solid white.

If that's out of your price range, and you don’t need the sporty look and all-wheel drive, the cheapest T-Roc is just over $37,000 and has a bigger boot which is better for a small family with prams and extra bags to carry around.

If you want the sportiest version, the R model sits at the top of the range, but it’ll cost you well over $60,000 on the road.

The T-Roc competes with other small SUV’s like the Skoda Karoq, Mazda CX-30 and Peugeot 2008

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What does it look like?

Despite being in a packed category, the Volkswagen T-Roc holds its own in terms of style. It has the traditional lines you expect from VW but with a few little extras and a lot of black gloss detailing. The 2022 face lift has added an LED light strip to the front grille for a little extra wow at night, and the lights and bumper have a slightly fresher look.

The 19-inch alloy wheels are a stand out feature for the side view and the black gloss roof is a nice distinction from the base model. From the back, I think it looks a bit funkier than the T-Cross with its wide and slightly aggressive-looking tailgate, accentuated by its red lights and gloss black alloys.

The 2022 face lift has added an LED light strip to the front grille for a little extra wow at night. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The 2022 face lift has added an LED light strip to the front grille for a little extra wow at night. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

Inside the T-Roc 140TSI R-Line still feels like a Volkswagen, but an upmarket and sporty looking one, thanks to the continuation of the gloss black detailing and the addition of chrome accents on the steering wheel and buttons. The whole vibe is very plush despite the fact the R-Line sits in the middle of the updated range.

The optional leather-appointed seats are super comfortable, so is the driver’s positioning in general, and overall the whole interior generally looks nice and modern, which you would expect for the price tag. Compared to some other Volkswagens, everything feels pretty luxe and you’ve got the main features you need for a stylish and comfortable family drive. 

  • The T-Roc feels upmarket and sporty thanks to the continuation of the gloss black detailing and the addition of chrome accents on the steering wheel and buttons. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc feels upmarket and sporty thanks to the continuation of the gloss black detailing and the addition of chrome accents on the steering wheel and buttons. (Image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The optional leather-appointed seats are super comfortable. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The optional leather-appointed seats are super comfortable. (Image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The T-Roc 140TSI R-Line has 19-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc 140TSI R-Line has 19-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The T-Roc has a wide and slightly aggressive-looking tailgate. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc has a wide and slightly aggressive-looking tailgate. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

How does it drive?

The T-Roc R-Line has arguably one of the best engines in the small SUV category and it shows. Volkswagen says the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque goes from 0-100 kilometres per hour in 7.2 seconds. This version of the T-Roc is an all-wheel drive (the base model is front-wheel drive) and it has a snappy seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Quite frankly, it’s beautiful to drive. There are multiple drive settings and the comfort mode really does give a smooth ride, with great suspension. Plus it’s very predictable and really easy to park for its size, thanks to its finely tuned parking sensors and camera. I found that the sensors really only came on when I needed them which makes a nice change from overly sensitive parking systems in some of its rivals.

The T-Roc has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

How spacious is it?

There's loads of space for the driver and front passenger plus a few practical storage spaces around the centre console and a decent sized glovebox. Up front there's also two cup holders and every door has a bottle holder with grooves built into the door so things don’t slide around.

In the back, it’s extremely comfortable for two adults, but not as comfortable for three. If you have a rear-facing child seat, there’s enough room for the front passenger which is uncommon for this class, but I don't think you will get three car seats across the back as space is limited. There's also an arm rest in the back with built-in cup holders, plus a hatch that goes through to the boot.

There's loads of space for the driver and front passenger. (Image: Sam Rawlings) There's loads of space for the driver and front passenger. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

The boot space is where the T-Roc struggles for a family review because it feels a bit small for the size of the car, if you need to take a large pram with you, you’re not fitting much else in. That’s partly because this T-Roc is all-wheel drive, but you can can get the front-wheel drive base model if you want a bigger boot due to a different rear suspension layout for the AWD models (R-Line and R). It also has a variety of luggage and cargo hooks, but it only comes with a space-saver spare.

I drove down to the south coast to visit family with a suitcase and a few other bags and it was fine, but when I just had my sister’s pram in, there wasn’t a lot of space left over. 

  • The boot space feels a bit small for the size of the car. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The boot space feels a bit small for the size of the car. (Image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The boot has a variety of luggage and cargo hooks. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The boot has a variety of luggage and cargo hooks. (Image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The T-Roc comes with space-saver spare. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc comes with space-saver spare. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

How easy is it to use every day?

The 3D cockpit or digital instrument cluster is great visually, you have a few display and driving options, and the information is all pretty easy to find and operate. Everything you'd expect like your audio settings, navigation, trip data and petrol usage is features.

The electric seats are very intuitive to adjust, and the memory setting is great if you share the driving. The front seats are heated and the heat spreads up the back of the seats which might sound like an odd feature to point out, but a lot of seat warmers only heat the base of the seat. Plus the climate-controlled air conditioning is really easy to use. 

The digital instrument cluster is great visually and is easy to operate. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The digital instrument cluster is great visually and is easy to operate. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

The T-Roc comes with automatic lights and rain wipers, the wipers can take a while to activate, but it’s a minor issue. I also like that you can activate the parking brake after you stop the ignition.

My niece loved the T-Roc because it has two USB-C points plus directional air vents in the back which are adjustable (rare for this class) and great for summer. There are also reading lights in the back which she used for reading and watching her iPad.

  • The electric seats are very intuitive to adjust, and the memory setting is great if you share the driving. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The electric seats are very intuitive to adjust, and the memory setting is great if you share the driving. (Image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The T-Roc has two USB-C points plus directional air vents in the back which are adjustable. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc has two USB-C points plus directional air vents in the back which are adjustable. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

How safe is it?

The pre-facelift T-Roc received the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2017, which is quite a while ago. The R-Line comes with pretty much all of the safety features you would expect like forward AEB, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist, and I like the fact that the base model does too.

This T-Roc has rear AEB with rear cross-traffic alert but those features won’t be available on some upcoming models due to supply issues. If you want to make sure you have these features, you need to check the status when it comes time to order your car.

The pre-facelift T-Roc received the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2017. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The pre-facelift T-Roc received the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2017. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

There are two ISOFIX points in the back which you can access easily, plus three top-tether anchorage points. The driving position in the T-Roc gives the driver a good vantage point, I found it easy to check my blind spot etc as the pillars didn't get in my way.

Front and rear parking sensors are a great feature, while the reversing camera is clear and provides great visibility. I also like that the audio levels on all media automatically reduce when you reverse. It has six airbags, including driver and front passenger plus front and rear curtains.

Audio levels on all media automatically reduce when reversing. (Image: Sam Rawlings) Audio levels on all media automatically reduce when reversing. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

What’s the tech like?

The 10.25-inch media screen has been mounted at a slight angle which means I didn't have to turn my head to see it clearly, I wish more cars did this. This T-Roc also has a soft-touch dashboard, satellite navigation plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Some of its rivals only let you have one of those, but not both. 

There's a range of other tech features you would expect for the price range including bluetooth, voice command, digital radio and wireless charging with a pad that has ridges to hold your phone in place. Up front there are two USB-C outlets and the back seat also has another two.

I also love the Beats audio system, it’s such a great listening experience but it’s an additional cost and comes with the Black Style package. 

The 10.25-inch media screen has been mounted at a slight angle. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The 10.25-inch media screen has been mounted at a slight angle. (Image: Sam Rawlings)

How much does it cost to own?

The big question is, does the value-for-money equation stack-up? While the car is definitely up towards the pricey end of the small SUV category, you do get a lot for your hard-earned money, plus the engine and driving experience is top end.

For day-to-day costs, my petrol usage across the week was pretty good , I did quite a bit of city driving and a lot around the suburbs in the rain as well, plus a couple of hour on the highway and my usage was 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres on average during my time with it, but the official specs are 7.3 litres per 100 kilometre’s on the combined cycle. You need to fill it with premium unleaded petrol, too.

In terms of ownership, the T-Roc comes with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, which is pretty standard these days. You can get a three- or five-year maintenance plan for your first three or five services and they will cost you just over $500 annually. Otherwise you can go for the have capped-price servicing, which is well priced and required once a year (or every 15,000km).

The T-Roc comes with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. (Image: Sam Rawlings) The T-Roc comes with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. (Image: Sam Rawlings)


The Wrap

I think the T-Roc R-Line is beautiful to drive thanks in part to its two litre engine and extremely comfortable suits. I also think the car has loads of personality even though it still conforms to Volkswagen’s trademark style.

It’s great for a family with maybe one small child, or two children who don't need prams or car seats. That's because boot space is limited and with more than one small child you would struggle to fit everything in.

I gave the R-Line an 8 out of 10 because I really enjoyed the whole vibe of the T-Roc, it's easy to park and it’s packed with great tech features, but more importantly there's enough storage for my family.

My niece gave it a 9 out of 10 because she thought it was super comfy, she loved the fact there were two USB points, and she liked how much space she had in the back. What surprised me is really liked the versatility of the middle armrest in the back seat which has cup holders - and doubles as a hatch so she could get things out of the boot while we were driving.

Likes

Great drive
Comfortable heated seats
Easy to park

Dislikes

Limited boot space
Space saver spare tire
Quite expensive

Scores

Helen:

4

The Kids:

4.5

$35,888 - $75,012

Based on 278 car listings in the last 6 months

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